Working in the automobile industry takes a lot of hard work, Classic Chevrolet Buick GMC of Cleburne Owner Mike Zorn, said and they want to recruit the best.
Zorn discussed how the industrial job market is shrinking and how that affects their industry to members of the Young Professionals of Cleburne during their monthly luncheon at the Cleburne Conference Center.
An extension of the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce, YPC’s mission is to connect, develop and engage young professionals in Cleburne to have a positive impact on the future of the community.
During the monthly meeting, guest speakers strive to engage young professionals in leadership development, networking, finding voice in the community and community service.
Zorn grew up in Minnesota and worked alongside his dad in a car dealership starting at the age of 10. In 1987, he and his family moved to Texas where he worked with the Don Davis Auto Group in Grapevine for 19 before moving to Cleburne.
In October, Kris Brown-Burroughs sold the dealership to the Classic Group, with Zorn taking over shortly after. Brown-Burroughs said in a previous Times-Review article she planed to join her father at Mike Brown Auto Group in Granbury to continue working in the family business.
The dealership, located on the U.S. 67 access road, opened in 2014 about three months before the opening of the Chisholm Trail Parkway, a toll road linking Fort Worth and Cleburne.
There are two problems Zorn said he runs into when working in a new business: telling people you’re there and hiring employees.
“In our industry, it’s hard to get people who actually want to do manual labor,” he said. “I thought it was a problem in the big city. I find it down here also.”
When students are in high school, he said most attend college and end up accruing student loan debt along the way. Then they can’t find a job in their field, he said.
“There’s a lot of hardworking people here that need to be taught a trade,” he said. “I would never ask someone to do a job in our business that I haven’t done myself. Don’t ever forget where you come from.”
Hill College Multimedia Manager Kira Zimmerman, who’s a member of YPC, said the college’s automotive technology program is expanding, and they see many of their students being hired even before they complete their degree.
Classes are taught in the Snap-On Center in downtown Cleburne where students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and tools, a two-story service lab area with 10 car stalls, theoretical and instructional classrooms, training and conference rooms, as well as faculty and staff offices.